If you follow my blog, you may know that I’m deeply involved in the planning and execution of our PDC, MIX, and Tech·Ed events (including Tech·Ed Europe). My team works on keynotes and content (sessions, hands-on labs, workshops, etc.), among many other things. As a matter of fact, I have an open position on my team for someone who can plan, build, and maintain the public and internal web tools for our big tier-1 events. Apply, if you’re interested. But I digress…
During the lead-up to our MIX10 event this spring, I knew that one of the features that Steven Sinofsky and Dean Hachamovitch would show in our day 2 keynote (demo starts at 19:00) was the hardware-accelerated text quality in IE9. The feature takes advantage of DirectWrite, ClearType, and sub-pixel positioning to improve font quality and readability. This additional precision allows glyphs to start “within” a pixel and not just at their boundaries resulting in more precise and consistent glyph spacing and proportions. This article on ClearType does a good job explaining some of the magic, even though it’s focused on WPF.
If you’re like me, when you hear “sub-pixel positioning” and glyphs that start “within” a pixel, you probably think, “yeah…right!” The MIX10 keynote demo certainly shows an improvement, but Steven and Dean had to zoom pretty far into the text to illustrate the difference. Fast forward to this past weekend.
Update: Some users were reporting that IE8 was automatically resizing these images because of their width. So, I've cropped the images to avoid this behavior. If the images still look "squashed," you can click to view them directly.
What a difference! Look at the rendering quality, readability, and positioning of the text. These are unmodified screenshots from the latest versions of the browsers running on Windows 7 with ClearType enabled. All of the text is rendered with the canvas .fillText command and there are no bitmap images…everything is either text or drawn to the canvas with vectors. I encourage you to try similar tests with your own content. I think you’ll be surprised!
If want to learn more about the technology behind all of this, take a moment to read about the hardware accelerated canvas support in IE9 on the ieblog.
And, of course, I love it when people take the time to send me a quick email. What do you think?
Wow! What a week. The MIX10 event is over, and I hope that everyone made it home safely. It was great to meet everyone in-person, and I love that we referred to each other by our Twitter handles (I heard “Hi, Anyware” many times this week). I thought I’d provide some early data on the event that you might find interesting.
Thank you for attending MIX10, even if your “attendance” is online. Enjoy the keynote and session recordings, leave some feedback, or drop me an e-mail.
Until next time!
When we host a big event, the destination city usually rolls out the proverbial red carpet because of the additional business we bring to the area. This red carpet treatment often extends to the visitors bureau, the convention center, and the nearby hotels. The deal almost always involves committing to a certain number of hotel rooms that we expect to fill. This is called our “room block,” and for MIX10, we sold out our room block awhile ago. As a thank you for our business, the hotel provides us with some nice room upgrades.
In past years, we’ve given the upgrades to members of the team who put in countless hours to ensure that we deliver the best event possible. We never told them in advance, and they were always surprised when they checked-in to their room. It was a fun way to show appreciation for a job well done.
As someone who’s been upgraded (to rooms that have more square footage than my house…and no, I’m not kidding), it’s absolutely exciting to open the door to discover such a palatial spread. The problem is, most of us are so busy running the actual event that we never spend any time in the hotel room. And other than sleeping, I don’t spend much time in the room at all.
What a waste.
So, starting last year, we decided to randomly give the room upgrades to our attendees. Many attendees travel to Las Vegas with their significant others, and what better surprise than to land after a long flight and check-in to a huge and luxurious room. Plus, it’s just plain fun!
For MIX10, we’ve randomly selected 22 attendees who will each receive a complimentary upgrade. That means that their room rate won’t change, and these lucky people will get to enjoy the spoils of an amazing space!
Here are some specifications and photos of the upgraded rooms:
We’ve already selected the lucky attendees, and they’ll be informed via e-mail within the next few days. If you end up in one of these suites, please take some photos and share them on Flickr or Twitter. We’ll all be jealous.
Good luck, and I’ll see you in Vegas!
Here we are, only three short weeks away from our MIX10 event in Las Vegas. It’s been over 5 months (!) since my last update…the longest dry spell in my 5+ year blogging history. My front page still has old PDC2008 information on it! Anyway, I’m long overdue for a MIX10-related post, and I have a lot to cover, so I’m going to do this in bullet-point form and in no particular order.
I hope to see you at MIX10!
Did you know that the PDC is assembled and run by the same group that does MIX? At this year’s MIX09 in Las Vegas, we hired a company to facilitate seven on-site focus groups, each comprised of around 10 attendees. While the questions covered a broad range of event topics, many related to our “online experience.” Here is a small sample of verbatim comments:
For PDC09, we decided to invest in a single online platform that addresses this feedback and allows us to reuse and evolve it for both MIX and PDC. The platform is being developed by the same group that built Channel 9 and MIX Online, and it uses Oxite as its foundation.
Here are some of the things we’re doing:
At the end of the day, our goal is to provide both in-person and online attendees with an experience that makes it easy to plan, organize, navigate, consume, and share the content that matters most. Hopefully, we’ve struck the right balance.
As always, we’d love your feedback. Did we miss anything? What would you prioritize?